The Teacher Observation intervention trained teachers in a structured observation approach. Teachers used software to rate their colleagues across a range of pre-specified components, such as managing student behaviour and communicating with students. Teachers were instructed to conduct a minimum of either three or four observations per year.
Teacher observation is an integral part of CPD in English schools. A recent US study found that structured lesson observation led to gains in student and teacher performance. The EEF funded this evaluation to explore the impact of structured teacher observation in the English context.
The evaluation did not show any overall improvement in combined maths and English GCSE scores for pupils of the teachers involved
The total number of teacher observations was much lower than expected: teachers involved in the trial reported that they felt uncomfortable taking time out of teaching to complete observations, and that the level of expected observations was unsustainable. However, even when observations did take place, there was no evidence that schools which did more observations had better pupil results.
It is important to note that many of the comparison schools reported that they were already doing peer observation of some sort. This evaluation does not mean that general peer observation has no impact, but rather that this structured observation programme was not found to have any benefits over the status quo
Almost three-quarters of the control group schools were already doing some peer observation prior to the intervention. The lack of impact seen in this study may be because the structured Teacher Observation intervention was no more effective than existing practice rather than because general peer observation has no impact